Not fly for a Wi-Fi

I call Stanger Hall two things: “Stanger Banger” and “home”. My dorm is more than the place I sleep at night; it’s where I study, destress, and socialize. I’m an out-of-state student with limited off-campus ties, so I rely on that space as my safe-haven.

My soon-to-be fiancé lives 2000 miles away so it’s also the only place I can “go on dates” for nine months of the year, cuddled up with a blanket and my laptop to digitally connect with the one I love.

It might sound ridiculous, but having access to the internet is important to my daily life. Is this a privileged issue to be concerned with? Possibly, but I feel that the large tuition payments my family makes each month are enough to secure me the basic amenities of university life. Or, at the very least, I deserve to be informed when large-scale issues occur with the network.

If it was able to load, you received an email from the Office of Communication Services explaining the dip in Wi-fi speed across campus. In an interview with The Leader, it was explained that residence halls might soon have a restricted connection because academic buildings are being prioritized. In other words, my home life is going to be altered and no one was going to let me know until the last second.

I understand that an academic institution has to prioritize classrooms, and I agree with that decision to some degree. My issue is that the problem was not addressed until The Leader requested comment, which was not brought up until I personally shared my experiences with lagging YouTube videos, freezing BlackBoard pages, and completely unwatchable Netflix movies.

But we weren’t the first ones to get frustrated. Social media was littered with accounts of anger, frustration, and confusion about the connectivity speed. From absurd Facebook memes to anonymous YikYak rants, the campus was in a frenzy. This was particularly true for students in the residence halls. EC should be offering this information as soon as it arises, not waiting for enough students to be pissed off before they mention it. According to Jim Kulich, this problem was foreseeable because issues arose in August — where was that campus wide email then? Did it get stuck in that ineffective Clutter folder or something?

You might argue that this problem was not preventable, but it could have at least been handled more transparently.

In the spirit of transparency, I must admit I don’t know how Wi-fi truly works. Maxing out bandwidth and prioritizing routers means almost nothing to me. But seeing my girlfriend’s face for fifteen minutes before bed means I get to be happy and comforted. Logging onto Netflix and watching one 30 minute episode of TV to break up the stress of being a full-time student with two part-time jobs and multiple leadership roles means I get to practice self-care (which is vital for my well-being). And, most importantly, being able to complete my homework assignments late at night means I get to succeed and ultimately reach that potential EC keeps talking about. The current connectivity issues are hindering these.

The lack of insight offered to students was a blatant disregard for transparency. Hiding the fact that the Wi-fi was broken did not cause students to ignore its faults. If anything, it has fueled more contempt because from our perspective this all happened without warning.

We were not able to prepare for this and we had no explanation when it occurred, so we naturally took out our anger on social media — ironic, considering it probably made the connection even slower.

All we needed was an email, like the one sent last week. In case the college happens to disregard transparency again in the near future (which I pessimistically expect will happen), I encourage my fellow students to send that strongly worded letter. Draft that email. Knock on that office door.

Remind the leaders of our campus that our tuition dollars keep this instiution afloat, and every service is meant for us. Raise your voice on more than just social media.

If you don’t we might be forgotten altogether, and that’s shittier than any dropped FaceTime call.